Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl
Historia de un amor
We all know the great love stories, Romeo and Juliet, Lancelot and Guinevere, Tristan and Isolde, Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl… wait a minute, WHO?
Oh yes, this romance between the beautiful princess Iztaccíhuatl and the brave and handsome warrior Popocatépetl is perhaps the most tragic of them all.
When the Aztecs dominated the Valley of Mexico they forced the neighboring nations and tribes into obedience and levied onerous taxes on them. Tired of the oppression, the cacique (chief) of Tlaxcala decided to fight for the freedom of his people and so a terrible war between the Aztecs and the Tlaxcaltecs began…..
Now princess Iztaccíhuatl, who was the daughter of the cacique of Tlaxcala, was in love with the great warrior Popocatépetl and he with her. So before going to war, Popocatépetl asked the cacique for the hand of the princess if he returned victorious. The cacique of Tlaxcala agreed to this and so the great warrior went off to war keeping in his heart the promise that the princess would be waiting for him to consummate their love.
Soon afterward, a love rival of Popocatépetl, jealous of the love they professed to each other, told Princess Iztaccíhuatl that her beloved had died in combat. The princess was overwhelmed with sadness and grief and so died of a broken heart.
Meanwhile Popocatépetl had actually been victorious in every battle and returned triumphant. When he heard the egregious news about the princess he was devastated. Wandering the streets with no interest in either the wealth and power he had earned he decided to do something to honor their love and assure that Iztaccíhuatl should never be forgotten.
Popocatépetl built a large tomb combining 10 hills to form one huge mountain. He then carried the body of the princess to rest on the mountains summit. He lovingly kissed her and knelt over his beloved with a smoking torch so he could watch over her for eternity.
From then on, they continue together, facing each other. Touched by the lovers plight, the gods turned them into two majestic volcanoes that would remain joined till the end of time. They remain so to this day with Popocatepetl residing over his princess Iztaccíhuatl, while she lay asleep.
On occasion, Popocatépetl will spew ash, reminding those watching that he is always there and that he will never leave the side of his beloved Iztaccíhuatl.
The view of Popocatepetl and Izaccíhuatl emblazon and grace of one of the world's largest cities… Mexico City.